Menu
Menu
IT outsourcing year in review: Grading our 2015 predictions

IT outsourcing year in review: Grading our 2015 predictions

We predicted that this was the year that IT outsourcing companies would welcome standardization, outcome-based contracts would finally take hold and RFPs would become a thing of the past. Now it's time to grade those and the rest of our predictions.

Off the mark

Outcomes become the name of the game

If only. “Outcome-based sourcing continues to face headwinds,” explains Huber of Alsbridge. “Progress is being made, but the fact is that outcomes are difficult to define in a way that fits traditional contract structures, and they take time to get right. This is going to take more work by smart, creative deal-shapers before outcome-based sourcing can truly replace traditional input-based models as the predominant sourcing model.” So far, the best we can offer is that some deals have shifted from input-based to output-based, says Brad Peterson, partner in Mayer Brown’s Chicago office.Pricing on outcomes like cash collections looks like a true answer but—like most true answers—takes great diligence and skill to achieve and remains relatively rare,” he explains. “However, the move to output-based pricing is an important move away from the typical pricing based on inputs and a step closer to a true business outcomes measure.”

The business takes over

Business leaders did play a bigger role in procuring IT services—particularly cloud services—than in the past. However, “IT remains vital for the integration of service provider solutions and for effective security,” says Eisner. “The business has certainly taken over the digital agenda in many organizations and SaaS solutions, such as HR technology, are being made outside of IT,” says ISG’s Hall. “But, many CIOs have stepped up this year to own the digital agenda for their enterprise.”

And odds are IT may become even more integral to future sourcing decisions. “Cybersecurity and interoperability trump unfettered business-centrism as the Internet of Things adds another layer of complexity and vulnerability,” says Huber Alsbridge.

The RFP fades

“The RFP continues to be an essential piece of the competitive procurement process, particularly for complex products and services,” says Tanowitz of Pace Harmon. “However, we are seeing more collaborative approaches to RFPs, such as co-developing statements of work and creating more solution-oriented approaches to RFPs that lend more flexibility to the process and allow suppliers to offer innovative solutions.”

While the RFP remained entrenched, it did not go unquestioned. “The RFP has not gone away, but the old templates have grown stale, and sourcing processes, including RFPs, need to become more adaptive,” says Alsbridge’s Huber. The tried-and-true approach never worked well for emerging technologies, says Peterson of Mayer Brown. “There, RFIs, RFSs and Proof of Concept projects work better. However, the RFP has remained a trusty tool for traditional outsourcing deals where it remains important to communicate requirements and obtain comparable information from potential service providers.”

Wait and see

Dawn of the cloud robots

We’ve certainly seen an uptick in conversations about robotics process automation (RPA), but the reality is that cloud robots are still little more than Excel macros at this point,” says Tanowitz. “Providers discuss cloud robots frequently and the benefits can be meaningful in terms of productivity gains, but we haven’t seen clients take advantage of the technology in a meaningful way.” Automation is advancing, says Brian Bodor, partner in the global sourcing practice of Pillsbury, “but we have yet to see the ‘rise of the machines.’ We expect to continue to watch this trend in 2016 and beyond.”

Where robotics and automation have taken hold is not cloud computing, but business process outsourcing, says Roy of Mayer Brown.

Supplier risk takes center stage

Outsourcing customers did not get serious about supplier risk overall, but they did get hyper-focused on cybersecurity. As a result, clients paid more attention to service location in signing deals, says Eisner of Mayer Brown. “We generally see supplier risk conversations ebb and flow with current events,” explains Pace Harmon’s Tanowitz. “Rather than preparing for supplier risk based on geographic instability or events, we’re seeing enterprises preparing more holistically for disaster response and recovery, including assessing cybersecurity risks and the protection of customer data that may be in the hands of their supplier.

Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

More about AlsbridgeBillCustomersExcelPillsburyTechnology

Show Comments
Computerworld
ARN
Techworld
CMO
<img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//insight.adsrvr.org/track/evnt/?adv=bitgblf&ct=0:dn998liw&fmt=3"/>